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Sports Medley: The Rio Olympics Calamity 1 Aug 16

by Tony Medley

The Olympics start Friday but I will not be glued to my TV. Having them in Rio de Janeiro is a calamity. Instead of helping the people, the government tore down and destroyed communities that had existed for generations, moving entire communities out of their homes.

Just as one example of many, the government decided that a village known as Vila Autodromo, a tight-knit community for generations, had to be destroyed to build the city’s new Olympic Park. When the residents refused to leave, they were bloodily driven out at gunpoint and 3,000 people were forcibly moved out of the homes where they had been born, grown up, and died, and their homes flattened.

According to Theresa Williamson, a housing activist in Rio interviewed on HBO’s REAL Sports with Bryant Gumbel, 80,000 poor people were removed from their communities to build the Olympic Park and Village. But will what’s being built be eventually used by these poor people? Not on your life. When the Olympics are over they will be sold to the rich as high priced condos.

One of the conditions of awarding the games to Rio was that they cleaned up the water in which the athletes will be competing. They did absolutely nothing about the water. Raw sewage is still dumped into the bay, the water to be used for the events. The AP reported that disease-causing viruses in the water in Rio are at 1.7 million times the level of what would be hazardous by US standards! The open sewage with human waste flows through the streets into the bay.

As bad, the outbreak of the Zika virus is far more virulent and widespread in Rio than originally reported. According to Amir Attaran, DPhil, LLB, MS. Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, “Rio de Janeiro’s suspected Zika cases are the highest of any state in in Brazil (26,000), and its Zika incidence rate is the fourth worst (157 per 100,000).  Or in other words: according to Brazil’s official data, Rio is not on the fringes of the outbreak, but inside its heart.”

Incompetence is one of the things at the heart of the Rio Games. When the “Olympic Village” opened last week, only 16 of the 31 towers were ready. When the Australian team arrived, the conditions were so poor that they refused to move in.

Said Kitty Chiller, the Australian team’s chef de mission, “This is my fifth Olympic Games. I have never experienced a venue in this state or lack of state of readiness at this point in time.… We felt our building was not safe because the combination of plumbing and electrical issues. When we did our stress tests yesterday afternoon there were significant leakages from plumbing pipes and they were leaking in and around exposed wires and electrical components. Electricity and water is not a good combination.” 

The mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes responded, “… Maybe we’ll get a kangaroo here to hop in front of them.” ESPN Outside the Lines.

According to Dr. Jorge Garza of the Rio Doctor’s Association, interviewed on the Gumbel show, while the City is spending big to build lavish Olympic buildings, funding for social services has been slashed. Garza’s advice to people coming to Rio is, “Don’t get sick. Many people have died as a result of the public healthcare crisis. If you do get sick pray to divine providence that you find a Hospital that is in good enough shape to give you proper care.”  

When asked how he felt when he sees the poor state of healthcare and what the government is spending for facilities for the Olympics, he responded, “It’s revolting to me. This is a crime against humanity.”

Nobody cares a fig for any of the Olympic sports anyway. Track and Field has been dead in the United States for decades. Who wants to watch pre-pubescent girls running around waving ribbons or women swimming upside down trying for a gold medal? If these weren’t Olympic events there wouldn’t be enough people attending them to fill one small SUV.

This just scratches the surface of the immorality of the Rio Olympic Games. I was a voice crying in the wilderness against the NFL returning to Los Angeles. Now I add that voice to oppose the city bidding on bringing the 2024 Olympic Games to this city.

As the Latin proverb states, Anguis in herba (latet), The snake (is hidden) in the grass. The Olympics have malevolent underpinnings. Get rid of them. In the meantime, I’m not going to support them by watching them on TV unless I have to for my writing.